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Club of the week; Coatbridge indoor bowls.

Coatbridge indoor bowling club has quite a bit of history behind it.

From hosting a huge inaugural event to having members represent their country at varying levels, the club certainly knows what it takes to be successful.

In worrying financial times, the club continue to offer participation in the sport to people of all ages, experience and ability.

As they approach their 50th year in existence, secretary Mhairi Buchanan is confident the club can prosper for years to come.

Tell us about the club's history and how it was established. We were founded in 1971 and were the first club to host the indoor world bowls championships.

That's our claim to fame and we have a banner up in the club recognising that.

We've had success at a national level with our ladies and gents and players have represented their country for the last 40 years.

We've been running strongly since the beginning.

What leagues do the club take part in? We have senior leagues every morning, the ladies play in the afternoon and the gents and mixed teams play in the evening.

The ladies are in the elite and play against Fintry, Falkirk, Glasgow and West of Scotland.

Our seniors are very successful too and have won their league for six years in a row.

Our gents team have struggled a bit recently but they're now holding their own.

Our ladies have won the Scottish Cup twice and our seniors have also been successful in that competition too.

We also have our own competitions that run throughout the season and that's split into four sections.

What's your involvement? There's a running joke that if there was a bed at the club, I'd sleep in it!

I'm a semi-retired nurse now and I spend a lot of time at the club.

I'm the club secretary, match secretary, delegate and also the under-25 selector for the girls.

I'm there probably five days out of seven.

What other benefits are there with being a member at the club? There's definitely a social benefit to being a part of the club.

The competitive part is great too and we've got a core who love that.

Anybody can win the in-house competitions!

It's a very equal playing field and if you win one of them you go on to represent us at a national level.

One of our gents, Gordon McKenzie, has qualified for the last four of the Scottish singles and is playing in Midlothian in January.

Hopefully he can go on to become the Scottish singles champion.

Another benefit is the great facilities here; they're first-class.

You can mix with everyone here too.

It doesn't matter what you're age, creed or ability is.

We have some disabled bowlers who love taking part.

It's such a level playing field too as size or strength doesn't come into play in bowls.

The men don't like playing against the women because it's so equal!

We also have an affiliation with the blind bowlers'association.

How challenging is the financial climate for the club? We're held to ransom by North Lanarkshire Council.

Our rent is PS30,000 a year, so we need to raise that.

It's a constant battle and our memberships are vital.

Anything after that is a bonus really.

Our function room is vital for us and that's great for weddings, christenings and various parties.

We rely heavily on that and without it we wouldn't survive.

And what other difficulties do you face? Age and bereavement are two issues that impact on us.

It's very difficult to keep members, especially ladies.

That'swhyI STARTEDTHETUESDAY night club, to try and encourage working women along.

We are trying to get rid of the elderly stereotype that surrounds bowls.

There are good players out there - we just need to make the sport more attractive to them and promote it without grey hair and walking sticks.

There's an assumption it's a boring sport and we're trying to chip away at that. We do work with the Boy's Brigade and the Scouts to try and get new members, but keeping them is the hard bit.

The club offers free coaching on a Tuesday from 4pm to 5pm and on Thursdays from 7pm to 8pm to encourage new members.

What about the club's charitable efforts? We have a wear pink for breast cancer day which recently raised PS400.

We raise money for ourselves through events like bingo.
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Publication:Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser (Lanarkshire, Scotland)
Date:Nov 14, 2018
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